Hear No Trauma

The only thing that gave them any privacy at all was a thin cotton curtain.  And it was horrible.

My sister was hooked up to a respirator, completely paralyzed by Guillan Barre.  She was 30.  Her roommate, Mrs. Anderson, was a woman in her 70’s.

As I stood beside my sister’s bed, I couldn’t help hearing, feeling, the drama on the other side of that thin curtain.   Mrs. Anderson was in respiratory distress and she had a “Do Not Resuscitate” order.  Her daughter stood at her side with a traumatic decision to make.

The doctors asked her what she wanted to do.

She hesitated, her mother gasping desperately for air.

“Ma’am, what’s your decision?,” they kept asking, as her mom was flailing and gasping.

Finally the daughter could take it no longer and instructed the doctors to hook her mom back up to the respirator.

Thank God.  It took all I had not to rip back that curtain and yell, “For God’s sake, help her!  The woman is desperate to breathe!”

Not taking dramatic measures, not hooking a person up to life support in the first place is one thing.  But to decide to take away a person’s oxygen?  The burden of that decision is way too heavy for a loved one.

And definitely too traumatic for the stranger whose heart is breaking on the other side of a thin cotton curtain.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Hear No Evil.”

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